Space "Currencies in Contemporary African art" at the Museum Africa

Huge art show planned for 2010

Written by Ndaba Dlamini
Friday, 18 September 2009
An exhibition of works collected from around the continent will add an artistic legacy to the football tournament, and show Africa to the world.
ARTISTS of Africa, an art and craft exhibition featuring the work of artists from all over the continent, will take place at Museum Africa in 2010.

Head curator of Artists of Africa Thembinkosi Goniwe
Billed as one of the main attractions during the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, the exhibition will run at the Newtown venue from 11 May to 11 July 2010. It is expected to attract thousands of visitors during the month-long World Cup, which kicks off on 11 June 2010.
At the official launch of the exhibition on Wednesday, 16 September at the Joburg Theatre Complex in Braamfontein, the head of the City's 2010 unit, Sibongile Mazibuko, said the exhibition was a City of Johannesburg initiative that was meant to augment the World Cup as a truly African event.
"This is an important pan-African contemporary art exhibition recognised as an official 2010 World Cup host city event. We are calling on African artists from all over the continent to participate," she said.
The member of the mayoral committee for community development, Bafana Sithole, said every passing day brought the 2010 World Cup closer. Artists of Africa was conceptualised by the City to use the pressure from hosting the football tournament to ensure that a lasting arts legacy was left after the competition was over.
"When the World Cup has come and gone, there should be something of value left behind ... This exhibition is meant to portray the continent's diverse cultures and for African artists to showcase their work. It is also meant to draw global attention to Africa. The City is proud to host the event," said Sithole.
Also present at the launch was the MEC for sport, arts, culture and recreation, Nelisiwe Mbatha-Mtimkulu, who said the exhibition would become part of South Africa's heritage and at the same time, expose the work of African artists to the rest of the world.
"The exhibition will develop the contemporary African art industry and thus give an opportunity for African artists to make a decent living for themselves."

Head of the City’s 2010 unit, Sibongile Mazibuko
At the launch, a sneak preview of what people could expect from the exhibition was beamed on to a huge screen. The video showed some artwork from African artists.
"From what I have heard and seen about the Artists of Africa exhibition so far, the best football has to be played at the 2010 World Cup for people to attend matches, otherwise this exhibition will draw most of the crowds. The exhibition features an exciting programme that the City is putting together," he said.
Giving a brief outline of the exhibition, the head curator of Artists of Africa, Thembinkosi Goniwe, said it was entitled Space.
"We are working towards a projection of what Africa is all about. But Africa is complex; that is why we have given the exhibition the title Space - it gives us space to try to map out this continent."
Goniwe said the exhibition would also give artists space to produce ideas about "beautiful and pleasurable things". He would not name any of the participating artists, however: "This will be a surprise," he said.
In preparing for the exhibition, 11 curators were working in different parts of Africa, looking for "diversity".
"The exhibition is also a creative and an intellectual space for African artists, curators, writers and various audiences to engage in dialogue on culture, aesthetics, politics and mobility," Goniwe explained.
One of the curators, Melissa Mboweni, said the exhibition would benefit the visual arts and, in turn, Africa.
"The visual arts, generally speaking, have little voice and are not acknowledged as a significant medium, and the role they play outside of supposed aristocracy and investment. Art has always brought to attention important and salient issues.
"It has also influenced how issues like HIV/Aids, poverty, social snobbery and the like can be seen in a different light," she said.